Voices from Russia

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Russian Catholics Welcome Pope Francisco as New “Rudder of Faith”

00 RC Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Moscow. interior. 16.11.12


On Thursday, Catholic churches in Russia served thanksgiving liturgies marking the election of Pope Francisco Bergoglio. In Moscow, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Holy Virgin Mary, Metropolitan Archbishop Paolo Pezzi, FSCB, of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mother of God in Moscow served liturgy. On Thursday night, the atmosphere in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception was almost intimate. After the the end of a working day, there were only a few believers at the ceremony. The priests in snow-white vestments, which they wear on solemn occasions, called on believers to pray for Pope Francisco. Catholics are only beginning to get accustomed to this new name. For most of them, Jorge Mario Bergoglio is still a stranger. Nevertheless, many believers already took him to their hearts as their pope; they believe he’s the one the Roman Catholic Church needs today. Artyom, one of the churchgoers, said, “I’m sure that my church will become better under him. I never heard of him before, but I’ve read that he’s modest and humble of heart, a priest who’s devoted to his mission with a reasonable degree of conservatism. I think that he’s an example for our whole church, and I hope that the new Pope will be a good ‘rudder’ leading our ship directly to God without deviating from the course”.

Today, the entire Catholic world is watching every step and every word of the new Pope. Fr Peter, a Catholic priest from Slovakia, said, “I heard of him before. I know that he’s very simple, open to people, and lives simply, even to the point of commonness. However, he’s very intelligent and educated. My first impression was very good. For example, right after his election, when he blessed the believers who gathered in St Peter’s Square in Vatican City, they offered him a special car to go back to the hotel, but he refused; he said that he’d return to Rome together with the other cardinals. He also checked out from the hotel, paid for his room, and carried his luggage without allowing anyone to help him. These are very important things that prove that he’d be a good pontiff”.

Fr Kirill Gorbunov, the head of the press service of the RC Archdiocese of Mother of God in Moscow said, “The relations between the MP and Catholics will become warmer. The process of convergence of our churches is going on independently from any specific personalities. The relations between Orthodox and Catholics aren’t a question of virtues and shortcomings of its members, whatever the roles of the pontiff or the Patriarch of Moscow are. It’s rather a matter of fate, of our church’s destiny, reverential trust. Because this is God’s will. Nevertheless, I’m confident that Pope Francisco will take steps towards our unity”.

On Thursday, Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias congratulated Pope Francisco on his election as the new head of the Roman Catholic Church and expressed hope for cooperation. The Patriarch said both Orthodox Christians and Roman Catholics should unite forces to defend fellow believers in countries where they’re under persecution, and to affirm traditional moral values in the modern secular world.

Milena Faustova15 March 2013

Milena Faustova

Voice of Russia World Service



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